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HomeNewsKCC Warns Of Growing Child Care Crisis

KCC Warns Of Growing Child Care Crisis

Kent County Council has warned that it cannot provide the necessary care for vulnerable children in its area due to rising numbers of unaccompanied young people seeking asylum and a “wholly inadequate” scheme to distribute them to authorities across the country.

KCC is currently responsible for 661 unaccompanied asylum-seeking children, along with 1,030 care leavers.

However, it claims 489 new arrivals had been referred to them in the past month alone, compared to just 136 children being sent to other local authorities.

Sky News
Updated Tue, 29 August 2023 at 4:12 pm BST·3-min read

A local council says it cannot provide the necessary care for vulnerable children in its area due to rising numbers of unaccompanied young people seeking asylum and a “wholly inadequate” scheme to distribute them to authorities across the country.

Kent County Council is responsible for 661 unaccompanied asylum-seeking children, along with 1,030 care leavers.

However, it claims 489 new arrivals had been referred to them in the past month alone, compared to just 136 children being sent to other local authorities.

Council leader Roger Gough and children’s services boss Sue Chandler said the “escalating arrivals” into the county, coupled with the failures of the National Transfer Scheme (NTS), meant the council had “once again been forced into the position of being unable to meet both its statutory duties to care for every unaccompanied child newly arriving or already resident in Kent, and care for them safely, and discharge all of its other duties towards vulnerable children and young people in Kent”.

The comments came as the prime minister again spoke of his plan to deal with small boat crossings in the Channel was “working”, as the number of people making the journey approached 20,000 for the year so far – down from 25,040 at the same time in 2022. That is only a small incremental decrease.

This continues to have significant implications for our county and all children and young people who require services

Last month, a High Court judge ruled that Kent County Council was acting unlawfully in failing to accommodate and look after unaccompanied asylum-seeking children. The judge said “Neither Kent County Council nor the home secretary knows where these children are, or whether they are safe or well. There is evidence that some have been persuaded to join gangs seeking to exploit them for criminal purposes”.

The government has extended funding incentives of £6,000 for transfers from Kent County Council to other local authorities within five days until the end of 2023 to 2024 after the ruling.

A government spokesperson said “The safety and welfare of all children is our utmost priority. We are working closely with Kent County Council to help them fulfil their legal duty. Significant work is also under way to increase placement capacity and to make sure local authorities fulfil their statutory duty to accommodate unaccompanied children nationwide.”

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